18
Jul

CommonwealthFirst Export Day for UK’s Best Small and Medium Enterprises

CommonwealthFirst hosted its first Export Day on Monday 17th July at One Great George Street, London. The event combined its eighty SME Export Champions with business mentors, government and business representatives.

The highlight of the event was the introduction of the latest cohort of UK SME Export Champions. These companies represent various regions and business sectors, showing rich breadth of innovation and excellence that the UK has to offer the world. These include businesses delivering off-grid renewable energy, healthy snacks, innovative antimicrobial technology, teddy bears, and even a digital knitting machine.

Whilst most of the Export Day was focused on encouraging cross sector collaborations, there were presentations from Richard Snowdon, Director at Royal Mail International on ‘exporting through ecommerce’, and Luke Walden, FX Specialist at Godi Financial on ‘FX management as an early stage exporter’.

Opening the Export Day, Lord Marland, Chairman of the Commonwealth Enterprise & Investment Council (CWEIC) said, “The trading environment is very challenging. The CommonwealthFirst programme provides a wonderful platform combining support and mentoring with high profiled trade missions, but it is only through an on-going focus on improving the quality of products and services along with excellent customer service, sensitive to diverse cultural needs.”

Applications to become an Export Champion for the CommonwealthFirst programme are ongoing. All submissions will be considered for our fourth and final cohort to be announced in winter 2017. Apply now!

CommonwealthFirst is the brainchild of the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council (CWEIC) with Royal Mail as lead sponsor and i-genius as implementation partner. Its mission is to encourage and support small and medium enterprises to trade and invest across the Commonwealth. Its SME trade missions have been to India, Malaysia and Singapore with the next one to Canada scheduled for October.

29
Jun

Third Cohort of UK SMEs selected to become Export Champions

30 British businesses selected for distinguished programme

CommonwealthFirst is delighted to announce the third cohort of Commonwealth Export Champions programme. Representing various regions of the UK and business sectors, our latest batch of Export Champions applicants proved to be of the highest calibre yet and they highlight the variety of innovation and excellence that the UK SME sector has to offer the world. Applicants included off-grid renewable energy, healthy snacks, innovative antimicrobial technology, teddy bears, a digital knitting machine, as well as award winning baby and children’s food.

CommonwealthFirst, in partnership with Royal Mail and i-genius as implementation partner, was established by the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council to encourage small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to trade and invest across the Commonwealth; a market comprising 52 English speaking countries with a combined population of 2.2 billion – at least 60% of whom are under the age of 30 – and a combined GDP of approximately US$9.6 trillion.

Along with our first and second cohort, new Export Champions will benefit from access to high-level networking events and introductions, training, mentoring and tailored trade missions – with Canada and Australia taking place this autumn and next spring respectively.

Richard Burge, Chief Executive of the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council, said “I am delighted to see such an exciting array of applicants to become CommonwealthFirst Export Champions. I look forward to meeting as many of the new Cohort as possible at our Export Day in July.”

The below businesses have been selected based on their ambition, innovation and the impact that they will have across Commonwealth markets:

BMM Weston
Dakin-Flathers
Donald Russell Limited
Dura Composites Ltd
Early Bird Ventures Ltd
ePortfolios Ltd
Extremis Technology Ltd
Forest Gin
Giving Tree Ventures Ltd
Goodness Gracious Foods Ltd
ICC Solutions
Joe and Seph’s
John Reid & Sons
Kniterate Ltd
Merrythought Limited
Naturally Tribal
PACK’D Ltd
Principle Healthcare International
Qnola
Redstor Holdings Limited
Sacoma
SAM Labs
Talley Group
The Coconut Company
Universal Smart Cards
Versapak
Votary
Winch Energy Limited
Wire Belt Company
YouTeachMe Ltd

Applications for the fourth and final cohort of UK SMEs will open in autumn/winter 2017, however, we are accepting on-going applications as of now: www.commonwealthfirst.org

3
Apr

Birmingham Briefing, 25th April 2017

CommonwealthFirst is organising a briefing on Tuesday 25th April at Birmingham Airport to raise awareness of its SME export champions programme and invite further applicants from small firms which have high growth and trading. The Birmingham briefing is being hosted by Birmingham Airport and sponsored by Turkish Airlines.

The regional event will highlight recruitment for the third cohort of Commonwealth Export Champions, which opened at the Trade Ministers Meeting last month. The previous intake of SME cohorts participated in a trade mission during the India-UK Tech Summit, Delhi last November which coincided with Theresa May’s first overseas visit as prime minister. The second trade mission is scheduled for Malaysia and Singapore in May 2017.

CommonwealthFirst is the brainchild of the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council (CWEIC) with Royal Mail as lead sponsor. Its mission is to encourage small and medium enterprises to trade and invest across the Commonwealth.

Lord Marland, Chairman of the Commonwealth Enterprise & Investment Council (CWEIC), said, “At a time when trade is under the spotlight, it is encouraging to see such high-quality export-ready small businesses coming forward to take part in this ambitious programme.”

Places are limited for the Birmingham Briefing. See agenda below. To register your interest, email Barry Crisp: info@commonwealthfirst.org

Agenda

11:00 Registration and coffee

11:15 Welcome remarks
David Winstanley, Chief Operating Officer, Birmingham Airport
Richard Burge, Chief Executive, Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council
Martin Levermore, Chair, Business and Trade Committee, Birmingham Commonwealth Association

11:30 Address by HE Kena Mphonda, Malawi High Commissioner to the UK

11:45 Address by Selim Ozturk, General Manager, Turkish Airlines

12:00 Presentation on CommonwealthFirst Export Champion Programme
John Pemberton-Pigott, Director of Programmes, CWEIC
Helen Bellamy-Booth, Channel Manager, Royal Mail
Tommy Hutchinson, Founder & CEO, i-genius

12:10 Questions and roundtable discussion

12:55 Concluding remarks
Uday Dholakia, Brand Ambassador, Birmingham Airport

13:00 Buffet lunch and networking

14:00 Close

Venue
Birmingham Airport
The Flight Deck
5th Floor Diamond House
Birmingham Airport, B26 3QJ

Map, Directions & Parking: View and Download

SMEs can apply to become a CommonwealthFirst Export Champion via: www.commonwealthfirst.org – Applications close on 5th June and the third cohort will be announced in July 2017.

CWF EC*: CommonwealthFirst Export Champion

 

 

 

9
Mar

CommonwealthFirst searches for third cohort of Export Champions at Commonwealth Trade Ministers Meeting

Recruitment for the third cohort of Commonwealth Export Champions opened today as Trade Ministers from the 52 member countries meet at Lancaster House, London. The latest intake of 26 SME cohorts have been selected according to their export growth potential and will participate in a series of trade missions with the next one scheduled for Malaysia and Singapore in May 2017.

CommonwealthFirst is the brainchild of the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council (CWEIC). Its mission is to encourage small and medium enterprises to trade and invest across the Commonwealth. The inaugural round of Export Champions attended the high profile India-UK Tech Summit, Delhi in November which coincided with Theresa May’s first overseas visit as prime minister.

Lord Marland, Chairman of the Commonwealth Enterprise & Investment Council (CWEIC), and the driving body behind CommonwealthFirst said, “The Indian trade mission was a major success. It provided some of the UKs finest small firms with fantastic exposure in one of the world’s fastest growing economies. We are keen to build on this and today’s event provides the ideal setting to further showcase the importance of SMEs as stimulators of sustainable economic growth. At a time when trade is under the spotlight, it is encouraging to see such high-quality export-ready small businesses coming forward to take part in this ambitious programme.”

The Trade Ministers Meeting plans to discuss areas where the Commonwealth can strengthen trade and investment links between member countries and develop a coherent policy agenda ahead of the 2018 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting. The Meeting has a particular focus on exploiting the ‘Commonwealth Factor’ whereby average trading costs are estimated to be 19% lower between Commonwealth countries as a result of commonalities around language, cultural ties, shared values and similar legal, institutional and regulatory systems.

SMEs can apply to become a CommonwealthFirst Export Champion via: www.commonwealthfirst.org

Applications close on 5th June and the third cohort will be announced in July 2017.

16
Feb

January Export Champion Interview Spotlight

Each month we will be showcasing Export Champions as part of the CommonwealthFirst Export Champion interview series. The collection of interviews over the coming months will allow you to get to know our Export Champions better, gain some insight to the challenges faced by UK SMEs, as well as the sharing of valuable business start-up advice.

For the month of January we hope you enjoy reading interviews from Knowledge Management & Transfer, Avon Barrier, Aduna and Hive Education.

29
Nov

CommonwealthFirst Export Champions shine in Delhi

The inaugural CommonwealthFirst trade mission saw a delegation of twelve outstanding UK SMEs travel to Delhi for the India-UK Tech Summit on 7-9 November. The Summit was attended by both the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the UK Prime Minister Theresa May.

The CommonwealthFirstdelegation was led by Manoj Ladwa, Member of the Advisory Board, and accompanied by CommonwealthFirst mentors including representatives of the Confederation of Indian Industry, De La Rue, JCB and Taylor Rubber, who were on hand to provide guidance and encouragement for the companies seeking to enter the enormous Indian market.

As well as attending the summit, the CommonwealthFirst delegation attended events hosted by the British High Commission, British Council, Confederation of Indian Industry, Ministry of Commerce and Industry and the India Observer Research Foundation.

 

29
Nov

CommonwealthFirst expansion explored for India and Nigeria

The continued success of the CommonwealthFirst UK programme has provided us with a fantastic platform from which to consider establishing similar schemes in other Commonwealth countries. At the moment we are actively investigating establishing CommonwealthFirst programmes in both India and Nigeria.

As part of the feasibility study phase Programme Director John Pemberton-Piggott hosted two roundtables to examine the merits of the proposed expansion of the programme.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank those who took part, and in particular, the State Government of Lagos and the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) who hosted the Nigerian and Indian roundtable respectively.

4
Nov

CommonwealthFirst Export Champions explore Indian market

Recruitment for the second cohort of Commonwealth Export Champions opened on Monday 24th October

The inaugural CommonwealthFirst trade mission will see a delegation of twelve outstanding UK SMEs travel to Delhi for the India-UK Tech Summit on 7-9 November.

The India-UK Tech Summit will be attended by UK Prime Minister Theresa May on her first bilateral visit since her appointment in July 2016.

The delegation will be led by Manoj Ladwa, Member of the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council Advisory Board, who said “the India-UK Tech Summit will be a fantastic opportunity for these fast growing UK SMEs – many of whom are exploring the Indian market for the first time.”

The first cohort of Commonwealth Export Champions was selected in July 2016 and represent the best of what British business has to sell to the world. Companies are drawn from the manufacturing, healthcare, education, technology, food & beverage and fashion industries.

The Export Champions will be accompanied by CommonwealthFirst mentors including representatives of the Confederation of Indian Industry, De La Rue, JCB, Taylor Rubber and Clarks Legal to provide guidance for entering the enormous Indian market.

During the mission, interactions are being hosted by the British High Commission, British Council, Confederation of Indian Industry, Ministry of Commerce and Industry and the India Observer Research Foundation.

UK SMEs can apply to become part of the second cohort of CommonwealthFirst Export Champions via: www.commonwealthfirst.org. Applications close on 4th December and the second cohort will be announced in January 2017.

31
Oct

CommonwealthFirst starts search for second cohort of UK Export Champions

Recruitment for the second cohort of Commonwealth Export Champions opened on Monday 24th October.

After significant success with its inaugural group of UK SMEs, the CommonwealthFirst initiative has opened applications for a second round of companies to join its ranks. CommonwealthFirst is the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council’s flagship programme to support outstanding UK SMEs with serious ambitions and strong potential to trade and invest in Commonwealth markets, to realise such plans.

Building on the success of the first round, twenty-five additional SMEs will be selected to become Commonwealth Export Champions according to their innovative and flexible approach, potential for overseas growth and export-readiness.

The first cohort will be embarking on a trade mission to India to coincide with the UK India Technology summit 7th-9th November, which will be attended by UK Prime Minister, Rt. Hon. Theresa May. Those additional UK companies chosen to comprise the second cohort will have the opportunity to participate in a second trade mission destined for Malaysia and Singapore in spring 2017.

Lord Marland, Chairman of the Commonwealth Enterprise & Investment Council (CWEIC), the driving body behind CommonwealthFirst, said “At a time when UK trade is under the spotlight, it is very encouraging to see such high-quality export-ready small businesses coming forward to take part in this ambitious programme”.

Lord Marland further commented that “As well as organised trade missions, networking events, mentoring and advisory expertise, CommonwealthFirst brings together a wealth of organisations keen to make the programme a success”

SMEs can apply to become a CommonwealthFirst Export Champion via: www.commonwealthfirst.org. Applications close on 4th December and the second cohort will be announced in January 2017.

26
May

The Commonwealth: a ready export market

This unique club of 53 countries offers trading opportunities to SMEs – but the UK’s poor export performance to date highlights that support is needed

SMEs drive entrepreneurialism, promote competition and innovation, and are in many ways the backbone of the UK economy. But, when it comes to the export market, they are collectively failing to maximise their potential with respect to exporting abroad. The UK performs poorly when it comes to SME-generated exports compared to exporting countries of comparable size. And it is estimated that anywhere between 25,000 and 150,000 currently non-exporting firms in the UK could, and should, be doing so. Read more